Online retailer Living Libations plans to expand
By Angelica Ingram
The following are brief reports of items discussed at the July 27 meeting of Dysart et al council.
Local health and beauty business Living Libations is looking to expand their operations.
Owners and operators of the business Ron Obadia and Nadine Artemis presented a proposal to councillors to build a new 7,000-square-foot building to operate their business.
Since starting as a retail location on Queen Street in Toronto in 1994, the business has expanded and moved permanently to the Haliburton Highlands, where it employs 25 people, said Artemis.
Specializing in organic products, Living Libations is an online business that ships items made in Haliburton around the world.
The couple had planned to build a new facility for their business years ago, however in 2013 a fire consumed their home and burnt the house and much of their business to the ground, said Artemis.
The business was able to continue operations due to the support of a local couple, who offered their home on Calico Road as a temporary site.
The business has since outgrown that space and the couple is ready to build a new site, to be located off Harburn Road.
The plan is to build an eco-friendly, state of the art building that will provide an innovative space for the employees, said Artemis.
“The planned building will contain a mix of office, production and warehouse space,” the couple wrote in a handout given to council.
“It is our intent to use sustainable building materials when possible. All interior and exterior finishes will be environmentally friendly and aesthetically appropriate for the property and community.”
Reeve Murray Fearrey inquired whether the business would be able to connect to high-speed Internet at their new location and suggested looking into that.
The couple would like to get the project moving as quickly as possible, with the hopes of moving the business to Harburn Road by next year.
The proposed property includes 100 acres, zoned rural residential, however, only five acres would need to be rezoned, to allow for the building, according to surveyor Greg Bishop.
The couple said there are concerns amongst neighbours at their current location but they hope to mitigate those with an open house, to improve relations.
Artemis stressed that Living Libations adheres to good manufacturing practices, with normal operating hours from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Deliveries are made by standard courier trucks during regular business hours and no harmful chemicals, odours, fumes or noise comes from the facility.
In order to move forward the proposal would require a zoning bylaw amendment and a site plan agreement, according to director of municipal planning Pat Martin’s report to council.
Describing the business as an agricultural related commercial enterprise, Martin said it is consistent with provincial policy and conforms to the Dysart official plan.
Glebe Park building moves forward
A proposal for a sustainable building in Glebe Park is moving ahead with the support of Dysart council. Fleming College’s Ted Brandon and Haliburton Highlands Nordic Ski Trails Association chairman Mike Darlington approached council with a plan to build a new facility in the park outside of the college campus.
As reported in the July 7 issue of the Echo, the hope is to have the building constructed by the school’s Sustainable Building Design and Construction program.
While the budget for the project is unclear at this point, Brandon said past projects usually come in at $100 per square foot. The proposal includes building a 1,500- square-foot building, tentatively putting the price tag for the project at $150,000 to $200,000.
The building might change as planning begins, due to issues such as water.
“It’s going to be a process,” said Brandon.
The association is hoping to get funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to help offset costs of the project, however if and how much funding they receive could affect the scope of the proposal.
Council passed a resolution to support a grant application to the OTF for the accessible building project.
OP review process begins
Dysart et al has officially begun its five-year review of the municipality’s official plan, with a special meeting of council on July 27.
As mandated by the province, the review allows the public to weigh in on planning decisions made by council.
Delegations were made by a wide range of community representatives, including the Haliburton Highlands Chamber of Commerce, the Haliburton Highlands Land Trust, Communities in Action, Environment Haliburton, Community Food Assessment and area cottager associations.
A variety of issues were raised, including addressing empty storefronts along the downtown core, a growing demand for local food, mandatory septic re-inspection and more.
Director of planning for the municipality, Pat Martin told those in attendance she anticipates having a draft plan available by the fall of 2016.